John A. Scali of ABC Surreptitiously Meets with KGB Station Chief, Aleksandr Fomin
At 1:00 p.m., John A. Scali of ABC News had lunch with Aleksandr Fomin at Fomin's request.
Fomin noted that "war seems about to break out" and asked Scali to use his contacts to talk to his "high-level friends" at the State Department to see if the U.S. would be interested in a diplomatic solution. He suggested that the language of the deal would contain an assurance from the Soviet Union to remove the weapons under UN supervision and that Castro would publicly announce that he would not accept such weapons in the future, in exchange for a public statement by the U.S. that it would never invade Cuba. The U.S. responded by asking the Brazilian government to pass a message to Castro that the U.S. would be "unlikely to invade" if the missiles were removed.
At 6:00 p.m. the State Department started receiving a message that appeared to be written personally by Khrushchev. Robert Kennedy described the letter as "very long and emotional." Khrushchev reiterated the basic outline that had been stated to Scali earlier in the day, "I propose: we, for our part, will declare that our ships bound for Cuba are not carrying any armaments. You will declare that the United States will not invade Cuba with its troops and will not support any other forces which might intend to invade Cuba. Then the necessity of the presence of our military specialists in Cuba will disappear." At 6:45pm, news of Fomin's offer to Scali was finally heard and was interpreted as a "set up" for the arrival of Khrushchev's letter. The letter was then considered official and accurate, although it was later learned that Fomin was almost certainly operating of his own accord without official backing. Additional study of the letter was ordered and continued into the night. Canada, the NORAD ally of the United States, was not consulted in these negotiations.
Scali was contacted by Soviet embassy official (and KGB Station Chief) Aleksandr Fomin about a proposed settlement to the crisis, and subsequently he acted as a contact between Fomin and the Executive Committee; however, it was without government direction that Scali responded to new Soviet conditions with a warning that a U.S. invasion was only hours away, prompting the Soviets to settle the crisis quickly.